Pittsburgh Philanthropist And Businessman Henry Hillman Dies At 98

Apr 15, 2017

Pittsburgh businessman and philanthropist Henry Hillman died at the age of 98 Friday.

The Hillman family confirmed his death, saying in a statement, “Daddy had such a tremendous life filled by a large family he loved dearly, innumerable friends, and great adventures in business and philanthropy.”

“Mother’s loss so soon after they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in 2015 was difficult, but he did what he always did, he kept going and kept our spirits going, too. We’ll miss him so much,” they added.

Hillman, a billionaire businessman, took his namesake company, the Hillman Company, from its industrial roots in coke and coal to a global investment company. The Hillman Company explains:

A nationally prominent business and civic leader, Henry Lea Hillman was a quiet pioneer in private-equity investing and an imaginative, far-seeing philanthropist whose gifts have enhanced and strengthened Pittsburgh, his home, through its medical, educational, research, and arts institutions as well as its human and social services initiatives.

He went on to create the Hillman Family Foundations, which oversees 18 foundations aimed at improving life in Pittsburgh and other cities around the U.S.

Mr. Hillman was the devoted husband of Elsie Hilliard Hillman (1925–2015), civic and political leader, philanthropist, and activist with a lifelong interest in Pittsburgh. Together, Mr. and Mrs. Hillman accrued 67 awards and 11 honorary degrees, tribute to the teamwork that characterized the couple during their 70-year marriage.

Maxwell King, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Foundation, said the deaths of Hillman and Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney this week mark a big loss for the city. He said both men represented the "old-fashioned values" that Pittsburgh cherished. 

“It’s a real blow to Pittsburgh to lose such extraordinary leaders who not only were exceptionally accomplished, but were very, very unpretentious and absolutely devoted to community," King said. "They were successful businessmen who devoted as much time to building their community as they did to their businesses.”

Mayor Bill Peduto also praised Hillman's contributions to Pittsburgh. 

"Henry Hillman will always be remembered as a leader who changed an industrial city into a 21st Century city," he said in a statement. "The City of Pittsburgh mourns his loss and we send our condolences to the entire Hillman family." 

A viewing will be held Thursday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at John A. Freyvogel Sons in North Oakland and the memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside. 

*UPDATED Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at 3:10 p.m. to indicate that the funeral will be public.